Brewers Seek Young, Analytically-Minded Executive


In a move that had been anticipated since basically the beginning of this season, the Brewers announced yesterday that long time General Manager Doug Melvin would be begin transitioning into an advisory role with the organization. In an interview on 105.7 FM the Fan today in Milwaukee, Melvin mentioned that this transition had been something that he had discussed with owner Mark Attanasio dating back to the end of last season, given that 2015 was the final year of his General Manager contract with the Brewers. Following a widely praised series of moving preceding the non waiver trade deadline, the Brewers and Melvin have officially begun the search for the next General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Attanasio has enlisted the help of executive service Korn Ferry to assist in the in the search, which already includes a preliminary list of candidates.

According to’s Adam McCalvy, the Brewers are targeting “younger candidates with a knowledge of analytics” as they cast their net for potential executives. More and more around the game, front offices are adopting sabermetrics in addition to their normal scouting and player development tactics, and the Brewers have been no different during Melvin’s 13 seasons in Milwaukee. Though the Brewers don’t have a very analytical reputation (perhaps Melvin’s old age of 63 misleads people), they were one of the pioneers in implementing the infield shifts that have become common place at the big league level. The Brewers have begun targeting ground ball specialists to better tailor their pitching staff to hitter friendly Miller Park, and their award-winning medical staff has long been on the cutting edge of advanced medicinal and rehabilitation techniques. Melvin praised the work the Brewers analytics staff put in during the time leading up to the trade deadline, noting their involvement in the Zach Davies acquisition from Baltimore specifically.

More from Reviewing the Brew

Melvin will continue to operate as the GM for the time being, but his new role in the organization will be in part determined by his successor. Mark Attanasio noted that the team is looking to bring in a new primary decision maker, so Melvin won’t be calling the shots no matter what position he takes within the Brewers. Interestingly enough, Mark also referenced his hope for Brewers rebuilding plan taking no longer than three years, but acknowledged the Cubs and Astros took five seasons. This is the first public admission from the owner that the team won’t be looking to compete in 2016, meaning the new General Manager will be tasked with an honest rebuilding effort.

Given the Brewers desire to pursue a young GM candidate, it is almost assured that the team won’t pursue former Marlins and (more recently) Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. After a disappointing start to the season, Dombrowski and the Tigers decided to sell off some pieces before the July 31 deadline in order to add some life to a barren farm system. Dombrowski found himself out of a job less than a week later, illustrating what can happen when an owner has a “win at all costs” mentality. Conspiracy theories about Brewers’ current manager Craig Counsell taking the helm as GM can also now be snuffed out, as Attanasio went as far to say that any candidate who expressed a desire to hire a new manager in their interview would be doing so at their own peril. One internal candidate to watch is amateur Scouting Director Ray Montgomery, who I have been touting as a candidate for awhile now. The Brewers lured Montgomery (a former Milwaukee scout) away from Arizona this past winter, and he is a very well respected mind throughout the league. He navigated the Brewers through their highly successful 2015 draft, and if the Brewers don’t name him their General Manager, it is likely only a matter of time before another organization does.

Doug Melvin became the Brewers GM in during the 106 loss season of 2002, and oversaw the longest period of sustained success in the club’s history. After two playoff appearances in the first 32 seasons in club history, Melvin built the Brewers into a perennial contender that won the second most games in the NL Central from 2005-2014. The team made postseason runs in 2008 and 2011, coming to within two games of the World Series before falling to the Cardinals in the 2011 NLCS. Melvin and his staff have rebuilt the farm system almost completely over the last year, and it is safe to say that Doug Melvin is leaving the Milwaukee Brewers in much better shape than he found them in. There is still work to be done as far as the Brewers rebuild goes, but the new General Manager will have a strong head start thanks to the outgoing one.

Next: Timber Rattlers Farm Report 8/11